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Virgil Van Dijk on Harry Kane’s Spoiled Fitness in the Champions League Final

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A fraction of Harry Kane up against all of Virgil and the Van Dijks. There was victory, my friends.

Tottenham Hotspur v Liverpool - UEFA Champions League Final Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

How difficult for Mauricio Pochettino was the decision to start Harry Kane in the Champions League final? We may never know. I suppose it’s easy to sit back and say that Lucas Moura had earned a spot after his heroics against Ajax and that Kane shouldn’t have been expected to shoulder the full match after such an extended injury period. Although it’s possible that Moura would have been even less effective against Liverpool’s defense.

Virgil Van Dijk and Joël Matip were fantastically solid in Madrid. The two centre-backs kept Kane to a few sparklers of activity in the Champions League final. Matip even got an assist. How about that?

Before Thursday’s Nations League semi-final between the Netherlands and England, Van Dijk admitted to expecting to find Kane in Tottenham’s starting XI. Kane had publicly declared himself fit so it would have been big news if Pochettino had sat him. Still, big Virj knew he and the defensive crew would be getting a diminished version of the Harry Kane that has so often dominated as a goal scorer in the league.

“Harry Kane is a fantastic striker, I think one of the best in England. And I think he’s definitely the best striker England have for the national team,” Van Dijk said.

”But I also know that if you’re not 100 per cent fit, then it’s going to be in your head if you get a little knock or you pass and you get a little bit of pain.

”It’s going to be in your head, so obviously I expected him to play the final, but I knew he was not going to be 100 per cent.

”I don’t know if he’s playing tomorrow, but if he is, then we’ll see how we’re going to manage.”

Kane would love to abolish the yucky feels from his underwhelming final by getting on the scoresheet against the Oranje.

It was always going to be a pickle for Pochettino, choosing between two less than stellar options to lead his attack for a Champions League final. If Daniel Levy doesn’t pony up for a quality back-up striker/utility attacker for Poch this summer it’ll be a shame for Spurs fans.